August 8th, 2009

rees

arthur j rees: obscured by time

Recently I had cause to dig deep into the life of Australian-born Arthur J Rees, the relatively obscure author of such works as The Shrieking Pit, The Hand in the Dark, and The Threshold of Fear (a sober fantasy). I usually find this kind of research quite tedious, but something about this guy caught my attention. Perhaps it was the ambiguity surrounding his birthdate (anywhere between 1870 and 1977!). Or maybe the odd hints that things weren't the same as his bios stated. Whatever the reason, it became my personal mission to dig up as many old references as I could lay my hands on, and, once I had them, make them available more widely. (Google will see this stuff, right?) Finding info on early Australian writers can be very difficult, as I've now learned the hard way.

Below the cut is everything I could find: the praise Dorothy Sayers laid on him in her landmark anthology Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery and Horror; the enigmatic and possibly exaggerated Lone Hand bio; typos (or are they?) in the official records; the dubious character of his occasional collaborator, John R Watson; even a possible affair...

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